Dr. Laura Ponderings – Holidays, Family, and Death

I don’t get to listen to Dr. Laura as much as I’d like, it’s easier to read things online in between breaks rather than listen to a podcast (plus some of her content isn’t child-appropriate).  Over the past 6 months or so though, I’ve had some opportunities to listen here and there, and I’m always amazed at how her advice is so simple, but can be elusive when it’s problems one can relate to.  It’s so hard for people to see reality at times, and I find that fascinating, especially when thinking about our own questions.

Perhaps it’s easier to solve other people’s problems when you can see the bigger  picture and they can’t, because they’re in the thick of it (or their emotions get in the way of logic and reality).  The Bible acknowledges this, telling us to get wise, godly counsel, and that with many advisers, plans succeed, etc.  We’re not supposed to figure everything out on our own 🙂 and that’s why podcasts like hers are great!

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Question 1 – Traveling with Kids for the Holidays

A father of 5 was scared of traveling to see all the relatives they usually do because it’s so hard on the kids (and parents) to travel.  It ends up being stressful and not fun for any of them and kind of ruins the holidays in a way.

Dr. Laura frankly told him it’s insane to try to travel long distances with that many kids (LOL why is this so hard for us parents of young kids to understand?  We always try to anyway), why not just stay home and create your own traditions and invite family members you want to see to your house instead?  She went on to add thoughts on how families of young children really shouldn’t be traveling anyway for the holidays, and should put the needs of their kids and immediate family first.  Holidays shouldn’t be that stressful (beyond the normal stress I guess), but filled with joy, peace, and happiness.

I know for us our kids seem to have a very hard time sleeping when we travel to see family, which in turn, causes us to be extremely sleep deprived (one time I got 2 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period)!  This makes the holidays even more stressful and difficult when you’re operating on very little sleep (and your kids are having behavior issues related to the lack of sleep).

The family also has to be worth it to travel with little ones.  Dr. Laura always tells parents that if their family is unwelcoming, it’s ridiculous to go; you’re teaching your kids to think that’s normal and ok.  Most counselors agree the kids will be much better off spending holidays around people who truly love and accept their parents and want to see them (not just the kids).

The father of 5 was relieved to say the least, to feel like he had an, “out,” to not have to pack up his brood and trek around to various family members’ houses.  I found that call adorable.

 

Question 2 – Feeling Relief When a Relative Finally Dies

A older woman called in and was worried about how she’d feel when her mother died (background story of abuse/emotional abuse and manipulation, which led to her cutting her mother out of her life entirely).  She was worried she’d eventually feel guilt – especially after her mother passes away.

Dr. Laura frankly told her that she’ll feel RELIEF when her abusive/controlling mother dies, not guilt.  Aside from this sounding so wrong, this is something I just cannot understand at all – my parents were so loving and wonderful growing up, the only rift we had was when I got married, and even that was fixed a couple short months after and they’ve been our biggest supporters and source of comfort for 12 years now!  I was *always* very close to my parents, and even now my mom is over sometimes several times a week to help out, and goes on outings with us weekly.  My parents also adore my husband, and really go above and beyond to show him love and acceptance (which is consistent with how they were my whole life).  Feeling relief at their passing is something I just could never comprehend.

But for people who grew up with emotionally or physically abusive parents, apparently feeling relief when they pass is a normal thing (unless amends have been made).  This may explain why people who grew up in an environment like that, typically want little to do with their parents when they’re adults (and as a result, they don’t see them often, or are estranged off and on).  Their parents are a psychological burden they carry with them silently – other family members, even siblings, don’t often understand this, but a spouse does.  A spouse sees it clearly, and understands intimately where it’s coming from for them – a place of deep pain and suffering that no one else really understands.  It just sounds so harsh to say they’ll feel, “relief,” but now I can see how realistic that is.  It’s a relief of the burden they’ve carried (their parents) since early childhood!  Of course it will be nice when they just don’t exist anymore.

 

Question 3 – Estrangement and Criteria for Reconciliation

This was a more recent call my husband and I listened to together, about a woman whose family wanted to get back in her life (she’d cut them out for 7 years), and had sent letters to her regarding this.  She felt guilty, and wanted to know if she was obligated in any way, to allow these aging parents back in her life.  She claimed those 7 years without them were bliss!

Dr. Laura asked her if they’d done any of these three things first: Did they show any remorse or apologize in any of their letters to her?  Did they take any responsibility at all for their part of the problem?  And did they try to fix any of the past problems at all, in any way that she could tell?  She answered no to all three.

Dr. Laura advised her it was *insane* to allow her parents back in her life without any of those three things happening first.

I think when a person does try to reconcile, without any of those 3 criteria being met first, it just doesn’t work out, and may be detrimental for people like her parents because they never have the chance or opportunity to repent.  If God just allowed us to be reconciled to Him without the repentance and forgiveness, we’d be taking advantage of Him all the time, and never have the opportunity to grow into better human beings.  Feeling remorse, feeling the pain or suffering of separation from God (estrangement), or going through the humility of making amends or apologizing, is good for us as humans because it brings us closer to God and who He wants us to be.  It’s the exact same with human relationships.

Reconciling without those 3 things happening may even embolden the family members to act worse, because they still feel no remorse for the past problems they helped to cause, and believe their adult child was the problem, and may now feel enraged at the previous estrangement.  Narcissistic parents often feel the estrangement was completely and utterly uncalled for, and therefore view the child or couple as needing to make amends to them for putting them through the estrangement!  Obviously, those kinds of emotions of deep resentment coming from parents like this causes a multitude of new problems for a couple to deal with, hence Dr. Laura’s advice in the first place.

Dr. Laura pointed out that if they haven’t changed, then the problems will just continue.  It is just very rare for people to truly change, unfortunately.

I loved this call and loved how she gave this woman freedom to do what she needs to, without any guilt, and gave her confidence to make choices that are best for her.  You just can’t fix everyone, and some things just can’t be fixed here on earth.  Accepting that, moving on with your life, and leaving things in God’s hands gives one so much peace.

Hope you readers have a great holiday season.  You can hear Dr. Laura’s, “best,” calls here , give her a call, or send her an email if you have a question about the holidays that are coming up!  I’ve always found her advice so wise and helpful!

Letter from Dr. Laura’s Listener on Envy

Dear Dr. Laura,

I think your topic about comparing yourself to others is great. I think we all do it, and it’s very difficult to avoid. It can certainly be destructive. Envy is not one of the deadly sins for no reason. Coveting other people’s spouses or possessions has certainly led to the downfall of many. I am constantly on the watch for that type of thing in my life. I don’t want to fall into that trap.

I do think there can be a positive side of this. If you know someone who has something great going for them, it’s natural to compare yourself. But if you’re coming up short, being envious and petty is not how to handle it. If you can figure out what they are doing which caused them to have such a great situation, you can earn that for yourself.

I get told all the time it’s unfair to judge the marriages of the people around me as compared to mine. To a certain extent that is true. But sometimes that statement annoys me. My husband and I are an unusually good match. I think it’s rare to find a partner who clicks as well as my husband and I do.

The thing is, I am as female as the next woman. There are days where I want to be snotty just because I feel like it. The difference is I choose not to do it (and when I do, I apologize and try to avoid it in the future). We don’t agree on everything, and we have habits that annoy each other. The difference between my marriage, and the marriage of many of my friends, is we CHOOSE NOT TO FIGHT. It’s a choice every single day that we are not going to make each other’s lives hell for the sake of saying we “won”. When you alienate your spouse, you didn’t win any damn thing, in fact, you lost more than your spouse did.

Instead of saying my husband and I are unnaturally in sync with each other, if more people asked “How do you guys get along so well?” – they would see how they too could get along. When I find someone with an attribute I admire, I do compare myself. When I come up short, as I often do, I try to figure out what they are doing that gave them the attribute. Then I do the WORK to earn the right to call that quality mine. None of the people we look up to got where they are without work. They all had to decide what they wanted to be and work hard to get there. The only good reason to ever compare ourselves to someone, is when we are willing to do the work to change ourselves for the better. Otherwise, it’s just a form of torture.

Kristy

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I love this letter, it’s what I’ve been saying for years about how actively pursuing an excellent marriage gives you a much greater likelihood of achieving an excellent marriage!  It’s always bothered me that friends or family would say we are just well-matched.  Yes, I guess it’s true, BUT I’m a lot like this letter writer in that I just don’t fight with him about ridiculous things (that other people complain publicly about with their spouses).

My husband and I have been married for over 12 years now, and even through the different trials of life, the years have been astonishingly easy together. We’ve had what I would describe as an unusually blissful marriage. Whenever I mention our past trials, I always feel like I need to qualify that statement with explanation that they weren’t major things inside our relationship that drove us apart from each other, or anything resembling ugly fighting between us. These were difficult and profound outside trials (things like being extremely poor in our early years,  getting married in college and working multiple jobs (managing a good marriage in the midst of graduating and working)…  having a premature baby (no one seems to understand how hard that is, until it happens to them personally), managing hostile family members, postpartum depression, etc.). Nothing dramatic between us, but rather things that we faced together.

What has always surprised me has been knowing other couples who went through similar trials, and ended up divorcing because of them.  What drove us together we’re the same things that drove them apart.

When reading this letter, it’s easy to look back on those hard times and see why we fared so well – we didn’t incessantly attack each other… which would have made our trials infinitely harder.

Our love for each other and willingness to make each other’s lives easier, has thankfully saved our marriage, and made us a much stronger couple in order to face the outside forces we have, and still retain marital happiness.  We have a playful happiness coupled with a deep joy that we truly are together in this world as a team.  And we make such a great team! ❤

If you’re reading this and coming from the other side (and wanting a better relationship), maybe try to look at your spouse as you would a best friend and lover – someone who was meant to be by your side through everything.  Perspective and gratitude solves a lot of problems, especially the immaturity of making mountains out of molehills 😉

 

Why Beautiful Things Makes Us Happy

I’ve always loved trying to defend why beauty matters… from tastefully creating an aesthetic environment in one’s home, to simple actions such as making your bed everyday, symmetrical beauty designed with order, brings us peace and happiness at a chemical level response!

This is my fourth pregnancy, and the sickness and exhaustion has been much more than any of the prior pregnancies, so cleaning in the early months has been especially difficult.  It’s like we were thrust into survival mode, where only the bare minimum was done, but thankfully all that’s over now (praise God 😀 ) and I’m finally getting back up to speed.  There’s just nothing more pleasant, inviting, and peaceful than a home that is well-managed and tidy.  Clean floors are like my holy grail of perpetual achievement (LOL), and although it’s a simple task and really shouldn’t be so important, it feels like heaven just knowing my floors are 100% clean.  It does help that this time, in very early pregnancy, before the crazy sickness really kicked in, I did an intense deep clean of everything, including the tile grout – and that helped to kind of off-set the coming months thankfully from needing too much intense care and correction.

On the physical front of defending beauty, I’m all in!  I think physical beauty is not to be necessarily considered vain, but that it’s also important in its own right, especially if you’re married.  I’ve written before on how it impacts your husband in several ways here, as well as how the Christian culture devalues it.  I’m sure it does sound vain though to say you make it one of your priorities 😉 but I do try….  Thankfully with pregnancy, women already are given a certain, well-documented, “glow.”  Their breasts also grow a couple of sizes, and their hair grows faster and thicker – it’s great for maintaining your mane!  You may not be able to use facial products that combat aging, or exercise at the same intensity, but there’s a lot naturally that happens that can make you feel beautiful, even when pretty darn ill.

But back to the topic of beauty in general.  In the female form, keeping in shape, eating foods that aid your body, instead of the laced-with-poison options that freely abound, actually does contribute to the delay of the aging process, and therefore, in a way, preserving the natural beauty of youth.  Of course you can’t preserve it completely, or even for very long, but it’s nice to be able to, “age well,” especially forgoing any attempts to un-naturalize yourself with injections of Botox, etc.

On the topic of food causing the destruction of natural beauty, in other words, things we’re not supposed to ingest (but seem to be in a lot of food/dyes, etc.) cause free radicals (molecules that have been, “radicalized,” and only have 1 electron, making them extremely unstable) which go on to cause damage to surrounding areas in your body.  Enough damage causes cancerous cells that are usually nipped in the bud early if your body gets enough sleep and you have enough anti-oxidants to neutralize those highly charged 1-electron molecules.  But if it’s too much damage over time, and you don’t get enough sleep and self-care, the damage builds up and creates wrinkles/aging skin at best, and disease or cancer at worst.  Good self-care, lots of sunscreen of big hats when out in the sun, eating and applying anti-oxidants really do a lot to help when they’re all done consistently.  Even exercise itself has been proven to repair the ends of your telomeres (the caps of your chromosomes that protect them from damage!), which means that exercise itself is a powerful anti-ager!!  Don’t neglect it for long, there’s just so much that benefits from it!

On art that is produced, I’ve always had a fascination with it that I can attribute to my parents ❤  We’re a family of artists, that goes back generations mainly found on my mother’s side, but somewhat on my dad’s maternal side as well.  Both of my mother’s paternal and maternal families had a propensity for creating and appreciating art, with her paternal side including the Cowpokes creator ❤ , and her maternal side getting their artistic abilities from their Polish roots (I think, at least).  The poles weren’t really good at warfare, financial success, or anything very note-worthy,. but they did produce some of the world’s best artists, musicians (loved Frederic Chopin when I was growing up! And then of course the Goo Goo Dolls LOL), and actors/actresses.  Maybe I’m biased (obviously), but it also seems Polish people, and the surrounding Eastern European countries, seem to produce some of the most beautiful men and women (particularly women)!

Now… off to eat some anti-oxidants and make our space more beautiful for our children ❤

Young Nurse Does Everything Wrong, But is Still Redeemed by God’s Grace!

This was such an interesting and encouraging testimony.  A young woman who didn’t take morality seriously, moves in with her boyfriend in college, becomes a nurse and assists with abortions, has her own abortion (that ends up rendering her almost completely infertile), finally learns through many trials what reliance on God and redemption are!

Just an overall feel good story!

Best quote from this woman’s article?

“Two decisions forever changed the direction of my life~ 1.) breaking God’s protective commands regarding the sacredness of marriage (having sex before marriage) and 2.) disregarding the sanctity of life (participating in abortions and having an abortion).”

From here

Why didn’t I value myself or life when I was younger?

That is a question I will always ask myself. My low view of life harmed us more than we could ever have known at the time.

It took 19 years before we could have a child.

The reason?

We had not obeyed God’s commands before and after marriage, and we suffered consequences that would reach over many years. In some ways, those consequences still continue today, though forgiven.

Today I am the 60-plus-year-old mother of three active and involved young adults (now all three married as of Nov. 2017), but as my husband and I look back over what the Lord has done, we marvel at God’s grace and mercy. Our lives would have turned out so differently, and we can’t imagine life without these young people!

I will tell you the sad story.

The early 50s, when we grew up, saw increasing prosperity. After the horrors and hardships of WWII, families in the U.S. were focused on getting that new dishwasher, television, and maybe, even two cars. Women were leaving home for the job market in record numbers to have the desired extras.

…. Continue Reading at Deep Roots at Home

Honey Cakes & Sunny October!

We are all so excited that it’s finally October.  Although the weather hasn’t cooled down yet, and it still feels almost as hot as August, at least we can go out and enjoy the daily sunshine and have water-play!  Every Thursday we’ve been going on different adventures where my mom comes along, I love seeing the kids get to enjoy her and soak up her joyful presence.  It’s perfect for having nice long talks with her, too, while the kids are busy playing, we can talk about more serious things.  It’s just such a blessing.

This past weekend was a busy one, with all the preparations for Rosh Hashanah (the Feast of Trumpets) being set for Sunday, I spent Friday and Saturday preparing for the feast at our house.  I love how the, “holiday season,” officially starts now for us with the Messianic holy days.  After having a wonderful feast with our family and my parents and brother, we went to the Messianic church I’d visit with them growing up as a child.  We were officially Baptist, but we went back on the High Holy Days, especially Yom Kippur, which is next week, and is more commonly known as, The Day of Atonement.  That holiday has always been one of my most favorite ones due to it’s connection to Jesus as the official and eternal-lasting sacrifice, the promise and prophecy He fulfilled through Easter.  However each of the High Holy Days from the Old Testament seem to contain prophecies that Jesus fulfilled or is set to fulfill, God’s plans are simply beautiful perfection.

Apparently many believe that the Feast of Trumpets is one of the ones that have yet to be fulfilled, and will possibly be marked by Jesus’ second coming, when He comes with the blasts of trumpets (4 passages in the New Testament that I know of, and even more in the Old Testament mention the trumpets blasting).  Rosh Hashanah is now celebrated by traditional Jews as being the Jewish New Year, but historians believe they picked up this pagan practice while exiled in Babylon, because the celebration and New Year aligns with the Babylonians’ New Year (that and the Bible never mentions it being for the, “new year,”).  So celebrating it as their New Year possibly became a pagan tradition added to their already religious holiday, much like how most of us have Christmas trees at Christ’s birth.  It was probably easier to celebrate their own religious holiday when it lined up with the Babylonian’s New Year, as it would draw less attention, but it’s nice to go back to it’s roots and discover it as God intended.

In the Old Testament, it’s mysterious how the Holy Days were always said to need to celebrated because they were holy to God Himself.  The Jews didn’t just make these holidays up, they were commanded to observe them, and even to be joyful, and not to mourn because they were holy to the Lord.

When the Jews returned from exile in Babylon, and after Nehemiah had successfully rallied the Remnant of Jews there to build their wall to protect their city of Jerusalem, they began officially celebrating the Holy Days within their city again. It was such an emotionally moving experience for them to be back in Jerusalem again finally, after so many years of oppression and exile, that many were weeping as their laws were read.

“They read the book of the law of God, translating and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was read.  Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to all of them,

“This day is holy to the Lord your God.  Do not mourn or weep.”

For all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law.

Then he said to them, “Go and eat what is rich, drink what is sweet, and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, since today is holy to our Lord.

Do not grieve, because your strength comes from rejoicing in the Lord.”

Nehemiah 8:8-10

I loved focusing on that last week, just the thought of putting our emotions or attitudes aside to be joyful for the Lord.  And how mysterious that our strength comes from rejoicing in the Lord, no matter your emotions.  I find it all just very wonderful and instructive. ❤

Our oldest went to a party and missed out on all the baking, but our 2 year old girl made the honey cakes, and our 4 year old boy did the entire apple kuchen cake (minus the peeling, coring and chopping of the apples) – I was so proud of how much they really helped!  And the cakes all came out delicious and heavenly!!!!  Definitely a great nod to the, “new year,” as it’s usually celebrated with apples and honey.

Apple Kuchen is like a giant cinnamon roll inside, with apples and frosting on the top!

Then tonight we went out for our family tradition of getting all our pumpkins on the first weekend of October.  It was so great to see the kids search for the perfect pumpkin to carve, and pick out some little ones for decorations.  Watching your kids experience the holidays and your own family traditions has got to be one of the best things about parenthood.  Their faces light up, you can see the awe and wonder in their eyes, and I can tell just how magical it all is from the perspective of a child.

I’ll have to add more pumpkin patch pictures later on this weekend.  I’d love to hear what other families do for the holidays in regard to traditions.  We’re set to host Thanksgiving and Christmas at our house this year, mostly due to the pregnancy and our family’s planning around making it easier for us.  I’ve never hosted those bigger holidays, any tips for hosting would be welcome as well 😀

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“These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart.

Repeat them to your children.

Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead.

Write them on the doorposts of your home and on your gates.”

Deut. 6:6-9

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Fall ~ Homeschool & Outdoor Beauty

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Last week was our first week of the 2019-2020 school year!!!!!!  I tried to wait until September so that maybe, just maybe, the crazy-intense nausea would relent, but it just. kept. on.  Still!  We had a wonderful week, I’m so excited about this year’s curriculum.

Last year was our first year doing this, so not being very confident, I picked a curriculum to use that had everything already planned and built into it for us.  It was nice and well-planned, but this year I wanted to go deeper into the different studies.  I’ll post the books I’ve put together from good recommendations from other homeschoolers at the end.

First… every morning we’ve been doing an outside exploration time from about 8am-9:15.  It gets their energy out so that by 9:30am, they’re ready to sit down and do some school work.

The first day of school, my husband was able to go because it was his off day, and we saw an entire herd of deer and little elderly woman feeding them from her hand!!!  It must have been a whole family, because there were several bucks altogether, and even the bucks were coming up to her.  She let our kids feed them, too, and it was just SUCH a cool experience!  Too bad I didn’t have my camera (LOL this is why I’m practically paranoid to leave the house without it)!

Here’s some where I did remember to take the camera –

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My mom always wanted us to love and seek out beauty in nature or art, etc. it’s something I know I owe to her for giving me during my childhood, the gift of experiencing beauty – learning how to seek out beauty.  I’m excited that one day every week, she’s able to come with us on these adventure-outings where we specifically go to someplace beautiful and kind of take the morning off from school activities (it’s just one morning where we spend that long outside, and it’s like a mini field trip)!

They end up doing so much active learning anyway, I expected it to all be play, but some of their, “play,” actually reminded me of science experiments! :O  They floated giant leaves down a stream over and over again just to see which way they’d go.  Then our oldest decided to alter the path by setting rocks in the way… seeing if it sped up the leaves or slowed them down in certain areas.  Just so nice to be able to do things like this, whereas if they were in school, we’d have to wait until weekends where it’d be super crowded (and to be honest, we probably just wouldn’t then).

My oldest found this mockingbird watching us from the arch of butterfly vines and took this beautiful picture!  I’m so proud of his photography interest and practice!

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I loved seeing all the kids play on this hill!  They rolled down it countless times and had so much wild fun!

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The grass was soft, no rocks, and perfect for rolling.  They call it, “Tumble Hill,” 😀

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The sky was like a painting that morning!  The clouds just looked so beautiful!

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Then we all played in the water (me and the Grandma, too!!!)… it’s still hot here, so the cool water was refreshing to play in.

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There’s nothing like morning light.  It even helps trigger the hormone serotonin to be released in your brain – the hormone that keeps depression and anxiety away!  Just so good for them to be out in the mornings soaking up that happiness sunlight ❤

It definitely makes me happier!

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They found a little waterfall in the rocks.

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After a few hours, we changed and relaxed before lunch.

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The picture below is of one of my favorite places that is still the same as when I was little.  It’s a man-made pond with dozens of waterlilies and a cute population of frogs in all their stages of development.  I used to catch tad-poles there in a cup!

I was always mesmerized with it’s beauty.  This picture reminded me of that, as all our children seemed captivated for a moment.

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Now on to the coursework….  For our 4 year old, it’s pretty straight forward learning letters, numbers, the basics of writing and reading, and simple math addition and subtraction.  I already had tons of books for that from when the oldest was his age, so I didn’t need to buy anything new!

But for our fourth grader, putting together a curriculum by myself was intense!  I pulled from sources we know, and some from online, and was happy in the end with what he’s doing.  We had the option to do a Christian co-op where I could have paid for other teachers to teach him the different subjects once a week a, “day academy,” and then do the rest on my own with him the rest of the week.  We decided it was overall too expensive ($1,500 for the year :O ), but I was able to pull from their curriculum as well, as to what was being used book-wise.  We may actually do the day academy next year, the teachers there, and families that go are that great.

For now though, I was able to find our entire curriculum for about $150 total!  Such a better price and to be honest, I find it fun to teach the different subjects to them!  Sure there are hard days when their attitudes are off, but 98% of the time, it’s really really fun and interesting.

For Language Arts

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I found these books MUCH better than the standard curriculum language books I was looking at.  They were recommended from this fascinating blogger, SaucysandPiper, from Days of Sunshine blog, here.  Her blog (and photography) is definitely worth checking out, please!!!

The Building Language is just introducing the concepts of Latin stems, and the way much of our language (and different languages) are built from those.  These books are just beautifully written, and incorporate the unique architecture, roads and aqueducts the Romans built!  Caesar’s English 1 is a more advanced (all of these books are done by the Royal Fireworks Press for Gifted and Talented children – they really are very good!) form of learning writing, essays, and more on using Latin stems.  The Music of the Hemispheres introduces children to poetry, both reading and composing their own works!  It’s been so much fun, and nothing like last year’s language curriculum!

Not pictured is the All About Spelling packet we’re using.  Recommended from several places, and just an all-around very helpful way to study the words broken down into steps.

For History –

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I decided to use this series called, The Story of the World.  It comes in four hefty volumes, each one designed for lessons for an entire year.  The day academy we were looking into was using it, and several other people I found online.  The author, Susan Wise Bauer, does a wonderful job of explaining history in such a fascinating, simple way – like the telling of a story, which for children, I think how it should be.  Hence, “the story of the world.”  He’s been loving the first chapter, learning about how historians believe life began in the fertile crescent, where the Bible plainly states between the Tigris and Euphrates.  We found a documentary online that followed the chapter almost topic by topic, which was fun.

Also pictured is the activity book, complete with pictures, maps to color, reviews for studying, review cards, and then the Test/Answer booklet for administering tests for each lesson (week).  I like that he’s going to be taking tests and will probably come up with some for his science curriculum, too.  Developing test-taking skills are always helpful.

Bible –

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We do Bible classes usually right before Language, and only do it intensely one day a week.  These books are both good, and have some overlap, but overall I can tell our son loves, “Cold-Case Christianity for Kids,” more than the study book.  I found this recommendation from The Wintery Knight’s website, and it has not disappointed!  Written by a former detective who discovered Jesus’ authenticity by treating him as a cold-case, he teaches kids how to do the same!  Just So. Cool.

Science –

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I’m using an online course and textbook for his science this year, but this is the paperback that goes with the text, full of worksheets, diagrams to fill-in, etc.  We like paper so much here that I’m finding myself wanting to print his textbook off just so he can have it to go back to in order to study easier.  So next year I’ll probably just find something already ready to go.  My degree was in Biology, and I loved science, so it’s one of the classes I feel most comfortable teaching.  Even last year we ventured off the curriculum a lot to do experiments, read books, and watch documentaries on the topics.  Science can either be extremely dry and boring, or edge of your seat exciting!

I also having our son do a Computer Class (basic typing, then moving on to actually writing a book or short story), and Spanish, which he’s loving!  Both of these courses are online and therefore I don’t have to do too much, as it pretty much teaches him for me.

For literature and books for writing essays, I came up with a collection that was more tailored to his likes than the other curriculum I saw out there.  The one we went with last year, that I was planning on possibly doing again (total would have been $500) had a lot of girlish books for some reason for this year that just didn’t sound interesting for him.

Instead we got Oliver Twist, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Huckleberry Finn, The Three Musketeers (not pictured because he was literally reading it at the time lol!), The Trumpet of the Swan (a classic 4th grade book), Stuart Little, and the only girlish book, Rachel’s Journal which is the diary of a pioneer girl (we did a study on the American pioneers last year, and he really liked it).

And James Herriot’s Treasury of Stories for Children – just a beautiful book about his sweet and sometimes hilarious experiences as a vet in Yorkshire.  I read his books growing up and so it’s wonderful to get to read them to our kids.

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The illustrations in his book are inspiring, and perfectly capture the culture of Yorkshire when retelling his stories.  Here are some examples –

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Our son also wanted to do a Viking study this year, so to honor that I found these books, plus a book not pictured that is the fictional story to the Fact Tracker (Magic Tree House) book.  The Norse Myths by D’Aulaire, suggested again by SaucysandPiper, has been his favorite overall so far, his dad is reading it with him, but from what I’ve seen, the illustrations are detailed and, “Awesome!” he says.

“I also like to read it on my own when Dad is asleep,” he says 😀 .  The Eyewitness Book on the Vikings is a factual one to balance out the myths.  And he loves the Magic Tree House books, so the fictional and fact tracker were perfect for this!

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For Math –

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I went with the Singapore Math this year, because the day academy co-op we thought about does all their math with this curriculum, and if we join them next year, I thought it’d be better to be on the same page already.  It’s supposed to be good and is a method used in Southeast Asia for developing the nation’s children’s mathematical abilities.  According to Wiki, the method became more popular when test scores were released and showed their method to be at the top pretty consistently.  We may switch to Saxon if it doesn’t prove as great, though, have lots of friends who use that one.

Some pictures of the Norse Myths book (much better in person though) –

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I’m super excited about this year!  Just so many fun things to learn and do!  Hope you readers have a good, “year,” too!

May you always be a learner, and discover adventure every day!

Wife Wants to Know – Why is Passionate Sex is so Important to Men?

I received an email from a wife who complained about how I’ve written here, and elsewhere she’s seen in comments, that just offering sex is not enough.

If the wife is at least not turning down her husband, then she’s technically meeting his needs, is what the wife argued.  I understood what she was talking about was what is commonly called, “duty sex.”  Duty sex can be good, if the wife actually gets into it and is passionate and gives her husband good, loving sex, but that wasn’t what she was talking about.  Just doing it should be good enough for a husband, because he’s still getting his need for sex met.

I’ve never – even when I was in my teens and a virgin until my husband, believed that men didn’t need passionate, crazy wonderful sex from their wives.  It’s what my mom taught me, even down to what women should wear regarding sexy/beautiful underwear and lingerie for their husbands.

I was plainly taught it’s selfish not to wear nice underwear for your husband to see, or to hide your naked body from him, etc.  Yes, you can teach virgin daughters all these things without them getting into trouble.  My mom did, and I’m planning on teaching my daughter all of the same things about sex, men, and relationships as well.

I went into marriage with clear expectations of what 99% of men would want and be very very happy with, and it made things (in my opinion) probably a million times easier because the more passionate sex a couple has in marriage, the closer they feel and are in every single way!

“But what about in times of pain or pregnancy?  Shouldn’t there be caveats as to a wife just, “faking,” it or doing it just so that her husband has his needs met?  Doesn’t SHE also have needs?!?! You only care about men’s needs it sounds like.”

I’ve gotten this before, usually in comments here or at other places.  Obviously if a wife is in physical pain due to just having had a child, or some other medical problem in her nether regions, then normal sex won’t work.  But there are other ways to be sensual/sexual with your husband – sex or pleasing each other, doesn’t have to be off the table completely.  And a good marriage (a good wife) will find ways to still have fun, be funny, or enjoy her husband (herself) in other ways.

I DO NOT believe it is good, or helpful, for a wife to just offer up passionless duty sex or, “star fish,” sex.

I think that kind of sex kills the soul of the man whose having sex with you… he’d rather be doing anything else than having sex with a woman who he clearly can tell isn’t into him.  You may feel good about yourself because you tell yourself you’re, “meeting his needs,” but a man’s sexual needs usually go much deeper than just the physical when it’s his wife.  He wants a real connection that can only happen when there’s passion and love there.

When a wife only offers duty sex, or makes her husband feel bad for wanting sex, she’s doing more harm than good – she isn’t doing him any favors.

We’ve been married over 12 years now, so this is a topic I understand and have had to work around myself; I’m not talking from inexperience here.  Right now the nausea during this pregnancy is and has been, SO INTENSE that if I don’t remember to take my medicine, I start violently vomiting by noon and it gets worse during the evening.  BUT even with the strong medicine they prescribed me for the nausea, the horrible feeling of nausea hasn’t gone away yet for over 6 weeks!  We still have lots of sex, we just try to plan it for when it’s possible, and my husband distracts me from the nausea with his charm 😀 ❤   I’ve found that I need the sex and the closeness it brings us afterward.  Amazingly, the nausea actually disappears when we’re having sex, so it’s like God’s granting us that time to connect as a couple, and we need it so much!  If I let the nausea get in the way and miss a couple of days of experiencing him, I feel sad, lonely and a little depressed.

In other words, even if you have a situation where it’s less than ideal, you can still either find ways to connect sexually, or just force yourself to connect anyway and try to enjoy it, because having sex/being sexual with your husband is also meeting YOUR needs as well.

Hopefully that helps clear up my position on duty sex or sacrificial sex.

No, it’s not enough to just, “do it,” you need to have your heart in it also.  It’s the same as what God wants of us, see below from God’s Holy Word, 

 

“I WANT YOU TO SHOW LOVE

NOT OFFER SACRIFICES.

I WANT YOU TO KNOW ME

MORE THAN I WANT BURNT OFFERINGS.”

HOSEA 6:6

Our Children. Our Faith. Our Right — Grace Over Pain

My heart has been greatly troubled for the past few days because of what is happening in the UK. This is nothing to do with politics and our new prime minister. It is all to do with our educational system. Last week the government made it compulsory for relationship education to be taught in primary […]

via Our Children. Our Faith. Our Right — Grace Over Pain

Email Questions: Should Women be in Ministries?

So this has been in draft form since December :/ , but it is a question I’ve gotten a few times over the years, and something I’ve asked other older women (who are wiser and have seen more than me), as well for their own personal thoughts.  Even though it looks like a simple yes or no answer kind of question, it can be complicated depending on the circumstance.

In short, I don’t have a perfect, clear-cut answer, BUT I can give you some thoughts from people I admire, and using my own experience some.

Personally, and I understand some won’t agree with me, I do think a lot of good can come from women ministering to other women and using their gifts as a blessing (in general) in a community.  I think it can be grossly misused, however, like anything that is supposed to be good and helpful.  I think there are clear boundaries where women are not supposed to cross, such as being a Pastor or any kind of teacher or leader over men in a Christian environment.  This unfortunately sounds vague and unhelpful, but again, I guess why it’s taken me so long to even publish this post, even though people keep asking, is because this topic is more than I am able to define myself.

I don’t believe we can just dispense with the biblical suggestions in Titus of older women using their hopefully gained wisdom, experience, perspective from mistakes made in the past, and aged-grace they seem to possess in helping younger women to get through this journey staying in God’s will easier.  There’s a reason why these instructions are in the Bible, and when older women forgo their calling to minister in those ways to younger women who truly need their guidance, our entire society crumbles.  But then when I think of examples of the older women, even Christian ones, out there right now, they are often telling younger women the wrong things – even going so far as to mock trying to stay pure for a husband (Sheila Gregorie)!  The advice out there, from older Christian women often in self-made leadership positions, is mostly all akin to, “anti-help,” in my estimation.

The bulk of advice from popular older Christian women, honestly, makes me sick to my stomach.  It’s probably the evidence of decline toward the (more than likely still far off) end, where the Church collectively leaves God altogether, and starts officially worshiping idols (hopefully it doesn’t get that bad).  It can’t be a good sign that even the older women are leading us astray, or having public tantrums on twitter, or embarrassing public meltdowns like Beth Moore had not too long ago.

But with all the negative attention female ministries (ministers?) are getting, I have seen some positive things come from ones that seem good.

Something I’ve told an email friend in relation to this recently, is the example of a Christian Mom’s Group I’ve been going to.  It is a group with mostly larger families that (mostly all) homeschool.  It is a wonderful group and surprisingly close-knit for that many people in one place all at the same time.  We’re actually, I believe, one of the smallest family that goes, with only 3 kids!  The group is basically like a Christian-moms’ book club 🙂 with the book we’ve been reading this past year being, The Mission of Motherhood, by Sally Clarkson.

Clarkson is what I would say a real life Proverbs 31 woman fulfilling her Titus 2 role now that she’s older and has figured out how to raise godly children into adulthood.  I haven’t researched her past too well, so there could be something off I don’t know about.  But her book, filled with tons of her own life examples and advice on basically how to be a good, Christian mother, is just invaluable.  I mean seriously, imagine if the real Proverbs 31 woman took the time to write an entire book on LOTS of the topics, hard questions, faith issues etc. about motherhood – THAT is what her book has been like for all of us.  Yes, there have been some moms who have felt, “uncomfortable,” or threatened by her success and “idealistic,” suggestions, but most have used it as inspiration and conviction to do better.  Most have admitted that she’s made them a much better mom, and the group itself, has made them better moms just through the accountability.  But it wouldn’t have even been a “thing,” if Clarkson hadn’t used her gift in writing her book in the first place (and she’s written many others).

So… one real-life Proverbs 31 woman using her gifts to minister to more women than she could probably count, has had a major impact on all of our lives – in measurable, real life moments!  That isn’t a small thing!  It doesn’t just affect us moms personally, but our kids, and our husbands, and our neighbors and even strangers we end up meeting.  It’s been weird seeing the effects of just a simple group like this ripple out much farther than I ever imagined.

And it’s made me really look at the women who see someone like Clarkson and feel negative feelings and emotions (like envy or snarkiness), and feel so sorry for them that they’re completely missing the blessing of her kindness and gifts to us!  Yes, she’s a real life Proverbs 31 woman in many ways, yes, she’s successful in her roles, but I still don’t understand women who feel, “threatened,” or, “intimidated,” by that for some reason.  To me, she’s someone to look up to.  Another role model or type of mentor-figure, if you can call a book author a mentor (?).

I rarely agree with everything I read, except the Bible, so her book is no different… there are some topics I wish she were more honest about, but for the most part, she does stick to biblical advice.  She’s gentle when talking against feminism, moms who choose or need to work, or women who use daycare, which fits with her personality.  But she also makes it very obvious that the overall impact of her book is still dramatically pro-stay-at-home-moms, pro-homeschooling, etc.  The science-loving part of me wishes she went into more of the hard evidence against daycares on baby and toddlers’ brain developments… at the least to try to be more convincing of Truth, or the evidence against public schools on the kind of information they feed our kids.  But at least she’s confronting other topics (motherhood attitudes) that not many people seem to touch.  And it’s working, many of the moms actually feel conviction or acknowledge how they’re making changes!

The Bad Side of Female Leadership – When it Goes Bad, It Really Goes Bad

Let’s start with Lysa Terkeurst… a lonnng time ago, probably 10 years ago, I used to read her blog over at Proverbs 31 Ministries, and I liked it.  Somewhere along the way, the messages started to feel like they lacked spiritual depth, as though they were only scratching the surface, or circling the same topics again and again.  It may not still be like that, I haven’t read there in years – and it is rotating authors, so maybe some rotated out, but I longed for something deeper, something that helped in my role as a wife and mother.

But where did Lysa go wrong?  I don’t know specifics, since I’m not extremely well acquainted with everything she is or has done, but it seemed when news of her husband’s affair came out, that she was always on tour, always writing something new (she’s written 16 books total – that books take A LOT of time and energy and devotion), Bible studies (that take even more time than books to produce, sometimes with videos accompanying them – which she did do – in  different countries at that!).  Her, “ministry,” quite honestly from an outsider’s perspective inspecting it after her husband went astray, looked like it was the total and sole focus on her life while her family stood on the sidelines.  For a wife and mother of five children, this is wrong.  There’s a huge sacrifice, or, “cost,” to putting your ministry above your husband and children, and although her children deny that is what happened, it’s hard to see her schedule in those years leading up to it, and *not* come away with the thought that she was neglecting some major things on the home-front.  Is a woman, “ministering,” wrong?  No, according to Paul, but maybe part of the reason why he mentioned older women was because the demands of children and supporting a husband would be a lot less in that stage of life.  Lysa’s been doing this as they were young, little, developing, and needing her each day to be there.

Even if her neglect isn’t what inadvertently caused her husband to stray, living a life that ostentatiously puts your family on the back-burner, all so that you can promote yourself and your self-defined, “ministry,” to strangers (instead of your own family), should be seen for what it is.  A Christian woman neglecting her role as wife and mother should (hopefully) produce guilt or shame when she’s realized what she’s done.  Unfortunately for Lysa, even though she’s managed reconciliation and prevented divorce, there was no public acknowledgment of anything she may have done to contribute to their marriage problems, let alone any acknowledgment of how little she was actually a wife and mother.

Healthy shame leads to realizing what’s important… that we’ve been off on our personal spiritual journeys and pursuits, perhaps she realized this, cut back on her schedule, and just didn’t let her followers know (it did look like she cut back, but that could have been from the divorce).  One thing I LOVED about Pilgrim’s Progress was that it didn’t (at all) shrink away from confronting the necessity of shame in helping to get us back on the right path and obtain humility when we mess up, and especially acknowledging our past sins when trying to witness to others!  What a beautiful book it was and so good to read it again.  We all get off course at some point, but unfortunately right now the popular theme is to avoid feeling ashamed at all costs!  I’ve seen Christian memes from Christian women leaders that proclaim that feeling shame at all, is spiritually wrong!  In Pilgrim’s Progress, there’s even a scene where Christian and his journey partner Hopeful, were whipped so that they could learn from their waywardness, and if I remember right, the one disciplining them was an angel of God.  Discipline is good.  God disciplines those He loves.  Shame, in it’s right form to correct us when we get off track, is just as necessary as discipline is, because it often brings a turn around.

Guilty Conscience –> Conviction –> Shame for having failed God –> Confession –> Repentance –> Change

The fact that her children and husband lost out on having a wife and mother who was actually there, can’t be fully made-up for.  When Art Terkeurst (Lysa’s husband)’s affair came out, it completely wrecked their adult daughter, and almost ruined her own marriage.  So yes, our mess-ups in life and marriage even impact our children when they’re adults!  I’m not saying Art isn’t at fault for his own choice to have a long-going affair, but affairs (from what I’ve studied psychologically) almost never start without the other partner giving them an emotional or sexual reason to be that tempted.  The only exception are serial cheaters who have a character disorder/personality disorder, which Art does not seem to have (only one, very hard to quit affair).

It’s typically been a role of male missionaries or Pastors to travel or go on speaking engagements, because mothers are biblically called to be, “keepers of the home,” literally holding down the home-front.  Which brings me to the next point…

Lysa preached Sunday sermons at her own church and others fairly frequently, something I only found out when researching what may have happened to damage her relationship with her husband.  It seems the women who do this, that I’ve watched personally in real life, tend to emasculate their husbands just by simply being in spiritual authority over them in this way.  Not only is it biblically wrong according to Paul in 1 Timothy 2, but when a wife becomes her husband’s “Pastor,” even for temporary sermons, she’s completely inverting the kind of natural relationship the Bible says a wife and husband should have, where she submits to him in everything, as she would unto the Lord.  When Lysa became Art’s Pastor, he was suddenly thrown under her spiritual authority and leadership.

For a marriage, I think it could possibly turn the husband completely off sexually, to have to abdicate his role of leadership and headship over her, submit to her leadership publicly as he supports her disobedience to Scripture – it sounds humiliating and emasculating, even if only subconsciously (some men may feel this, but they’d never admit this).  We know a family member who chooses to live this way, as a female Pastor, and no surprise, they’ve had recurrent issues with his infidelity.  It sounds like the perfect recipe for an affair… if another submissive, feminine woman comes along and decides she thinks the emasculated husband is perfect – looks up to him and follows his lead on things, it can spark feelings he doesn’t feel anymore for his emasculating wife.  Men need to feel needed, masculine, and capable as both provider and leader over their wife/household.

Loud and Proud Divorcees are Leading the Way

I’ve been sent links to other female ministers, one even somewhat connected to the old church social circle we used to attend a couple of years ago, and it’s amazing to me how so many divorcees are holding themselves up as leaders to be modeled after, and at the same time, wanting younger women to respect them and their mistakes as part of their, “journey.”  Their mistakes are holy and glorified.  Their, “hot mess,” (messy divorces) as they call it, is held up as a role model for their capitalized success at leadership.  There’s zero repentance, zero focus on whatever they may have done wrong to contribute to their divorce, and a very strong, “you don’t need no man,” vibe from their blogs/websites.  Most are still single and divorced, or married a second time, but to a man they disrespect publicly.  It’s extremely disheartening to read the blogs like this.  I’ve only come across one older leader of a women’s Bible study who was divorced, who actually was humble enough to talk about what she did wrong and how she personally contributed to the demise of her first marriage – it was so refreshing.  And her honesty was beautiful, and so needed as she gave it to us as a warning not to be like how she was in her past!  How many female ministry leader divorcees do you know who are like that?  Again… I’ve only encountered one!

This post is already too long, but other examples are:

Beth Moore –

Sheila Gregorie-

And I’m also including the many other authors who are in agreement with these women.  We are having an epidemic of Christian female leaders who are destroying biblical Truth, even going so far as to mock it, unchallenged.

These examples, as you can see, are so bad they promote the idea that women shouldn’t be using their gifts at all!  This is the consequence of Christian women like Beth Moore, Sheila Gregorie, and Lysa Terkeurst recklessly misusing their opportunities to teach Titus 2 concepts.  Who is going to trust them?  When Christian female, “leaders,” act in these completely unbiblical ways, they lose their witness and rightfully so.

***

Hopefully with all these examples above, a reader and fellow Christian can see it just hasn’t been working out too well to hold up females as pseudo pastors, because that’s what they’ve become in effect, when growing such large ministries.  Maybe it goes to their heads in a way, but one thing is for certain (and I’m sorry in advance that it sounds so unkind to these women and their families, but this needs to be said):

These women grow such large ministries that they become almost like heads of the households for other Christian wives to follow.  This in effect leads other men’s wives to follow that female minister (like Beth Moore) on theological questions or topics, instead of her husband’s leadership.

Paul made this statement for a reason: ” let the wives ask their husbands at home”

It’s not that I believe women can’t minister to others in different ways and in maybe using their gifts, but in teaching biblical things outside of Titus 2, it does seem to get fuzzy on what may be right, and what may be wrong.  I don’t hold all the answers, but I did think this was a good question I’ve gotten from readers a few times in the past.

Can Women Minister in General?

YES!

Are MANY of them getting it wrong, acting unashamed, embarrassing fellow Christian women who are supposed to look up to them.?  Yes 😦

May we pray for God to give us a revival, where older women who are actually qualified will start teaching and helping younger women to what God’s called them to.